Two men from Telangana, who recently left the country to fight alongside the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, were in close contact with at least four of the > 14 terror suspects arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) last week, a senior government official said.
Two other members of the group — Faizan and Arfan — who were also part of the Hyderabad module are said to be absconding and had acquired visa for Japan, the probe has revealed.
The two men, both from Telangana, have been identified as Arshad Ali and Kadir, both in their mid-twenties. Ali, first went to Singapore and from there he travelled to Syria four months ago. Kadir, who took a job in Dubai, travelled to the conflict zone around two months ago, said an official.
The four men in the NIA custody now — Nafeez Khan, Obedullah Khan, Mohammad Shariff Mohiuddin and Abu Anas — were in touch with the two men who travelled to Syria.
"It is true that the Islamic State is trying to recruit at multiple levels in India. The present module was not under the radar of the State police but the Central intelligence agencies had been keeping a watch on them,” said the official.
> The Hindu had reported on December 26 that two more men of Indian origin had travelled to Iraq-Syria but their identities were not known then. > The number of Indians who are believed to have joined the terrorist outfit now stands at 25, up from 17 in August last year.
Another official said, “Their preliminary interrogation shows that they wanted to increase the numbers of their followers here and organise attacks to establish a caliphate here.”
The group led by Mumbai resident Mudabbir Sheikh had at least one common handler, former member of the Indian Mujahideen Shafi Armar alias Yousuf.